Older Drivers and Missouri Accidents: When Does Safety Become a Concern?

402937_abuela_tejiendo.jpgSafe driving advocates often say practice makes perfect, encouraging young drivers to get as much experience behind the wheel as they can. But some worry that old age may be a contributor to a substantial number of car accidents in Missouri. Safety officials encourage older drivers to remain proactive when it comes to safety, and to ask themselves the question, "Is it time for me to hang up my keys?"

Growing old brings many blessings, but it also means that certain of our senses and abilities will inevitably deteriorate. At some point, we will all experience loss of eyesight, or hearing, or cognitive function. While this may be a difficult time in anyone's life, it is important for us to push these feelings aside and put the safety of motorists (and ourselves) at the forefront.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers you these warning signs that may signal that a senior is no long able to drive safely:

• Receiving tickets for number driving violations.
• Getting lost when taking a familiar route.
• Noticing new scratches or dents on your vehicle.
• Experiencing accident or near-misses.
• Finding that roads signs and road marking are suddenly overwhelming.
• Driving either too fast or too slow for no apparent reason.
• Having trouble navigating turns.
• Hitting curbs or other precautionary road objects.

The United States reported a population of 40 million people ages 65 and older in 2009: this age group made up nearly 15% of the entire population. During this year, nearly 5,500 people age 65 and older were killed in motor-vehicle accidents. Another 187,000 people of this age group suffered injuries from the same incidents. These accidents accounted for nearly 20% of all 2009 traffic accident fatalities, and another 8% of traffic accident injuries.

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